More Tips (#11-20) for Coping with Fibromyalgia & Insomnia

My name is Dominie Soo Bush. I suffered with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome for many years before finding some things that helped me. Below are more helpful tips continued from my previous page.

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Please Read This Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. The purpose of this site is not to diagnose or cure any disease or malady, but is presented as food for thought. What you read on this site is based on my own history and ideas. This information cannot take the place of professional medical advice. Any attempt to diagnose and treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician. No guarantees are made regarding any of the information presented in this website.

See Table of Contents for a quick list of my 100 tips

11. MASSAGE -- Ask your spouse or family member to give you a massage, or see a licensed massage therapist who understands fibromyalgia and trigger points. Avoid deep massages such as "rolfing," as it will increase pain. Try something relaxing like a gentle Swedish massage. There was a massage school in my former home town that offered student massages for $20 for a full hour.   This was very reasonable, considering that the going rate in the area is $50 for 50 minutes.  Perhaps you can find a reputable school in your area.  Most massage therapists are aware of fibromyalgia and interested in alleviating the pain.

12. EXCITOTOXINS -- Some people find relief for fibromyalgia symptoms by eliminating all excitotoxins from their diet--monosodium glutamate (MSG or Accent), aspartame (NutraSweet or Equal), hydrolyzed protein, etc. Symptoms may worsen initially as the body begins detoxifying, but some people become pain free with this method. Excitotoxins are used in nearly all processed foods. You may want to research the internet to discover the many names excitotoxins masquerade under, and then omit them from your diet for a period of time to see if you notice improvement. This approach takes a lot of discipline, but may well be worth the effort. See my page about excitotoxins at  I have a friend who got relief from her FMS symptoms through complete avoidance of excitotoxins. 

13. MATTRESS -- When my fibromyalgia was at its worst, I was like the fairy tale princess who could feel a pea under 20 mattresses! I bought and sold one mattress after another trying to find one that I could live with. I even tried a waterbed. The heat was nice, but the bed still felt too hard. Solving the mattress dilemma was tricky, because I needed firm support for my back, but softness for my sore muscles. I finally put a convoluted foam topper on my firm innerspring mattress, and that took care of the problem.  Another idea might be a Select Comfort Sleep System (air bed).

14. ANTIOXIDANTS -- There is new exciting research indicating that antioxidants can bring about remission of fibromyalgia! Antioxidant damage has been found in people with FMS, so it is not surprising that many fibromyalgia patients find relief by taking OPC's. Dr. Jack Masquelier discovered OPC's in 1947 at the University of Bordeaux in France. OPC's travel through the bloodstream to every part of the body, especially those rich in collagen. Collagen is a structural part of our blood vessels, skin and connective tissues like ligaments and tendons. There are many brands of OPC's on the market now, but some are as low as 5-10 % bioavailable! You will not get results from these. Take high quality OPC's on an empty stomach with water--not milk or food--as this can interfere with absorption--first thing in the morning works best, then wait about 45 minutes before eating.  The recommended dosage is 1 mg of OPC's per pound of body weight per day, although some people take more than this amount for relief of their symptoms. If you feel a fibro flare starting, double the dosage for a few days--take a regular dose in the morning and another at night.

15. SOFT DRINKS -- Carbonated beverages contain orthophosphoric acid and leach calcium and magnesium from the body. These two minerals are absolutely necessary for healthy muscles and bones. People with FMS don't need to be losing any magnesium, since they are usually deficient already--so avoid soft drinks! Diet soft drinks are even worse because they also contain aspartame. (See #12.) Inadequate levels of calcium and magnesium can lead to muscle cramping. Calcium/Magnesium supplements can help you obtain these two minerals, which are sometimes called "nature's tranquilizers." I use something in my water that keeps my body more healthily alkaline. Acid causes disease!

16. DOCTORS -- Perhaps you have discovered by now that most doctors do not know how to treat fibromyalgia.  (If you have suffered emotionally from a visit to an unsympathetic doctor, see my "good doctors/bad doctors" page at  FMS is a confusing condition with strange symptoms. I had been to numerous doctors in many cities during the first 14 years I had FMS, and none of them were able to help me find relief. They all prescribed muscle relaxants, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory drugs, sleeping pills and pain pills. None of these things helped much, and many of these drugs had unpleasant and dangerous side effects. When FMS patients don't get better and keep returning to their doctors with complaints, some doctors have a tendency to blame the patient rather than admit that they don't know what else to do! Some have even told FMS sufferers, "It's all in your head," or "You have to learn to live with it!" Doctors also refer FMS patients to psychiatrists, although FMS is not a psychiatric condition.  I had a most encouraging conversation with a doctor I hadn't seen in over 2 years. When I told him I had found relief for my fibromyalgia with OPC's, I cringed inwardly at what he might say! Was I ever surprised when he replied, "Those are antioxidants, aren't they? I wouldn't have believed you 2 years ago, but I and many other doctors have been learning about nutrition lately. Strong antioxidants clear fibromyalgia right up. You are on the right track." This comment thrilled me! 

17. DEPRESSION -- Depression is a problem for most FMS sufferers. It is caused by a disturbance in brain chemicals brought on by a continuing lack of restorative sleep. In addition, the losses suffered by people with FMS can be overwhelming--our health, our lifestyles, our ability to think clearly, our careers and in some cases even our spouses, friends or family members who do not understand! Prior to finding melatonin and other sleep aids for my sleep disorder, I struggled with severe depression. At times I even felt suicidally depressed. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness would overwhelm me. When I began sleeping better, my depression completely vanished! Strangely, antidepressants never did this for me. In fact, some of them had extremely unpleasant side effects such as anxiety, depression, restlessness, drowsiness and even the inability to sleep. I always felt "numb" or drugged when I was taking them! I have sinced learned that depression may be related to poor immune function. To learn more about this, go to a good search engine like and type in the words "depression" and "immune." It's surprising the number of articles that come up. Balancing the immune system and sleeping well at night can make a great deal of differnce for biochemical depression. I now use an immune-balancing product that has made a world of difference for me! Without restorative sleep, the body can't function properly and the endocrine system becomes deregulated. Melatonin worked well for me until I turned 48. Then it suddenly stopped working--maybe due to drastic changes in my hormone levels? I began needing a lot of strong sleep meds just to knock me unconscious for a couple of hours--I wouldn't even call that sleep! After 18 months of that misery, I felt totally ragged and my nerves worn out! Since I have been taking the immune product, I need less sleep meds to really sleep.  I have energy and stamina when I can get restorative sleep at night.

18. NIGHTSHADE VEGETABLES -- Some people report more muscle pain after eating tomatoes, bell peppers or potatoes. You may want to experiment with omitting these from your diet. Tomatoes contain high levels of glutamates, which cause muscle pain in some people.

19. REPETITIVE ACTIVITY -- Any repetitive activity of the muscles, such as typing, can worsen fibromyalgia. Limit the amount of time you spend in activities that use the same muscle groups over and over, such as writing, typing, knitting, needlepoint, cross-stitch, piano-playing, etc. It gives the neural pathways a rest. Many people with FMS became afflicted due to their jobs as secretaries or computer operators. With the increasing popularity of personal computers, there will probably be many more cases of FMS in the future. Sitting still for long periods of time is not good for FMS either, so take frequent breaks or at least do some shoulder exercises when sitting at the computer for long periods of time. Most people with FMS have to move around a lot to keep their muscles from becoming stiff and sore ("gelling").

20. MAGNESIUM -- Researchers say that most people with FMS are deficient in magnesium, the mineral that helps muscles relax. I used to use a malic acid/magnesium supplement for FMS, but it was very expensive so I switched to a good quality magnesium.  It was less costly but actually more effective.  I am now able to type on my computer all day without any ill effects. I take 1 or 2 magnesium tablets at night along with my supplements for sleep. If my muscles start to feel tense during the day, I may take 1 or 2 additional magnesium tablets. Fertilizers, food processing and cooking already greatly deplete magnesium from our foods. This mineral is vital for those with fibromyalgia. (However, magnesium draws water into the digestive tract, so if you experience loose bowels, just decrease the amount of magnesium or take it with meals.) Calcium is the mineral that helps muscles contract, and ideally calcium and magnesium should be in balance. For this reason, you can also supplement with calcium, since calcium deficiency can cause muscle cramps--especially in the legs.

To read more of my 100 TIPS, click on these links:

Tips #1-10 - Reduce Stress, Get Plenty of Sunlight, Computers, Sleep, Mental Relaxation, Rest, Cold, Heat, Immune System, Exercise

Tips #11-20 - Massage, Excitotoxins, Mattress, Anti-oxidants, Soft Drinks, Doctors, Depression, Nightshade Vegetables, Repetitive Activity, Magnesium

Tips #21-30 - Noise, Calming Herbs, Yeast, Vitamin E, Fasting, Dark/Light, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Pain Relieving Gels, Brain, Parasites

Tips #31-40 - "Be Happy," Smoking, Junk Food, Nutritional Supplements, Research, Raw Foods, CO-Q-10, Low-Fat, Anti-inflammatories, Pillows

Tips #41-50 - Sleep Meds, Milk, Chiropractic, Sunglasses, Coral Calcium Water, Posture, Tension Myositis Syndrome, Epsom Salts, 5-HTP, Malabsorption

Tips #51-60 - Progesterone Cream, Neck Injuries, Hormone Instability, Carbohydrates, Prayer, Aspartame (Nutrasweet) and MSG, Guaifenesin, Ions, Colds and Viruses, Sleep Anxiety

Tips #61-70 - Magnets, Fructose (Sugar) Intolerance, MSM, Electromagnetic Fields, "Leaky Gut" (Intestinal Permeability), Migraines, Cytomegalo Virus, Books, Overactive Bladder, Shoes

Tips #71-80 - Methylcobalamin, Mercury Poisoning, Soy and Food Allergies, Thyroid, Marital Stress, Lyme Disease, Breathing, Ativan, Soluble Fiber, Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS)

Tips #81-90 Type A Personality, B-Complex, Brain Surgery, Red Blood Cells, Iron, Substance P, Gluten Intolerance, Racing Thoughts, DHEA, Mycoplasmas

Tips #91-100 - Relaxin, Warm Water Exercise, Essential Oils, Blood Volume, Acidosis, Oxidative Damage, Hyperbaric Oxygen, Bedding, Histamine Intolerance, Blood Thickness

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100 Tips for Coping with Fibromyalgia & Insomnia

  My Fibromyalgia Story

  My Chronic Fatigue Story

  My Insomnia Story

  What I Use

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II Corinthians 1: 4 - "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."  Visit Dominie's FMS/CFIDS Homepage at for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers and their families.

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DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor. I am a fibromyalgia / chronic fatigue syndrome survivor. The purpose of this website is not to diagnose or cure any disease or malady, but is presented as food for thought.  This information cannot take the place of professional medical advice. Any attempt to diagnose and treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician. No guarantees are made regarding any of the information in this website.